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Energy efficient transmission is of vital importance in the design of wireless sensor networks (WSN).Minimizing the sum of energy consumption of all sensor nodes in the network may lead to some nodes with non-rechargeable batteries running out of energy quickly. In this paper, we consider to maximize the time until the first node fails in the network, namely, the network lifetime. Transmission schemes in a WSN where multiple sensors observe a common physical phenomenon are investigated. We show that the optimal joint time and power control (JTPC) takes advantage of ldquolazy schedulingrdquo and ldquoopportunistic quantizationrdquo. We then demonstrate that the JTPC can be implemented in a partially distributed manner. Numerical results show that significant lifetime gain can be achieved when compared with existing scheduling algorithms.